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Bureau table

Object number



Maker, formerly attributed to Edmund Townsend, American, 1736/7–1811
Maker, formerly attributed to Daniel Goddard, born 1747
Maker Unknown


32 3/4 × 35 1/2 × 19 5/8 in. (83.185 × 90.17 × 49.848 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


Made in Newport, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)


Mahogany (primary); mahogany (vertical and horizontal blocks on feet); chestnut (drawer bottoms, back boards, subtop, bottom board, top of cupboard, and drawer runners for the small drawers); cedar (cupboard sides and shelves); white pine ( backing for lower drawer dividers and board spanning back to support top drawer); yellow poplar (drawer sides, drawer supports on two proper right small drawers, blocks between the top rail and the subtop, and back of drawer divider for the top drawer, and back of cupboard)




"Wm. H. Taylor," in graphite, on interior of long drawer bottom; possibly "A" and other illegible letters, in graphite, on exterior back of long drawer; "A," "B," and "C," in chalk, on exterior backs of proper-right small drawers [from top to bottom]; "D, " "E," and "F," in chalk, on exterior backs of proper-left small drawers [from top to bottom]; loops or letters, in graphite, on interior fronts of some small drawers [partially concealed by hardware]; "Repolished in June 1914 / by / W. H. C. Taylor / New Bedford Mass," in graphite, on interior case back behind proper-left middle small drawer; later numbers "1" to "6," in graphite, on tops of drawer dividers


John Pitman (1757–1809), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to his daughter, Mrs. William H. Taylor (née Elizabeth Ann Pitman), Newport, Rhode Island, 1809. Charles Francis White (1864–unknown). Fenton L. B. Brown (1925–2013), New York, by 1985; sold to Eddy G. Nicholson, Hampton, New Hampshire, before 1995; Christie's, New York, January 27–28, 1995, lot 1090; sold to a private collection, 1995

Associated names

John Pitman, Jr.
Fenton L. B. Brown
Eddy G. Nicholson
Mrs. Eddy G. Nicholson
Charles Frances White
Elizabeth Ann Pitman
William H. Taylor
Nancy Bennett


TOP: The front and side edges of the top are ogee-molded and the back edge is flat and overhangs the backboards slightly. The mahogany top is secured to the case by a full-depth subtop with dovetail keys and rosehead nails. The subtop is dovetailed to the two-board case sides. The top rail is tenoned to the case sides. DRAWERS: The drawer dividers are dovetailed to the case sides and the vertical walls of the cupboard. The drawer divider below the long drawer has a partial dustboard; behind the cupboard a board spans the case back and fits in grooves in the case sides.The eleven-lobed shells are glued to the front of the wide drawer; the grain of the bottom of that drawer runs side to side; the one-piece bottom is fitted in grooves in the drawer front and sides and is nailed to the underside of the drawer back with sprigs. The grain in the small drawers runs front to back; the bottoms fit in a grooves in the drawer fronts and sides and fastened to the underside of the drawer back with sprigs; running strips are added to the edges of the side. On the long drawer small glue blocks abut the running strips and are glued to the drawer front and bottom. The tops of the drawer sides are rounded and are flush with the drawer fronts; the tops of the drawer backs are flat and have a slight chamfer at the back. On the drawers half keys at the top and bottom and full dovetails between fasten the drawer front to the sides; the number of full dovetails on the long drawer is four. Drawer stops are fastened to the case sides with glue. The drawer supports are fastened to the case and cupboard sides with rosehead nails. CUPBOARD: The vertical sides of the cupboard are nailed through the case back; the two shelves have rounded front edges and are supported in grooves in the cupboard sides. The top rail on the cupboard door has two through tenons into the sides; the lower one of each is pinned. The lower rail has single through tenons. BASE: The bottom rail is tenoned to the case sides. The two-board bottom is dovetailed to the case sides. The vertical glue blocks for the feet rest against the case bottom and the horizontal blocks abut them; the brackets for the rear feet have an ogee outline, are nailed to the bottom board and fitted in slots in the rear side feet. The rear side feet extend beyond the backboard. BACK: The horizontal two-board backboard has a lap joint and is nailed with rosehead nails to rabbets in the case sides and bottom board, and to the subtop; the subtop and dovetail keyways are visible from the back. Examined by P. E. Kane, July 27, 2010.


Christie's, New York, The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eddy Nicholson, sale cat. (January 27–28, 1995), 288–89, lot 1090, ill.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Silver, Prints, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (January 15–16, 1999), 144, fig. 6.
Patricia E. Kane et al., Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2016), 290n3, 294nn3–4.